Glaucoma occurs when an imbalance in production and drainage of fluid in the eye causes pressure in the eye to increase to unhealthy levels. This raised pressure causes progressive optic nerve damage, which can eventually lead to irreversible loss of vision.
People may experience eye redness, discomfort, blurred vision, or headaches, but loss of vision due to glaucoma occurs slowly and may go undiagnosed for a long time. Vision loss is permanent, so early detection is key.
Once diagnosed, however, vision loss can be prevented with proper treatment. A person may be prescribed eye drops containing beta-blockers or other compounds to decrease the eye pressure.
The type of treatment depends on the severity of glaucoma. Surgery may be required if the eye pressure is extremely high or if eye drops have not been effective. Doctors may increase drainage in the eye or even create a new drainage system.
Those at high risk for glaucoma should have a comprehensive eye exam every 1 to 2 years. Doctors will measure eye pressure or use an instrument called a tonometer. They also use a tonometer to look for any changes in the optic nerve that could indicate damage from glaucoma.
Glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness in the world and people over the age of 60 years are six times more likely to develop glaucoma than other people.
Uveitis refers to inflammation located anywhere in the pigmented lining of the eye. This section of the eye is called the uvea or uveal tract.
The area can become inflamed due to infection, injury, or an autoimmune disorder. In some cases, the reason for the inflammation may be unknown.
Symptoms of uveitis include:
- eye ache
- redness in the eye
- loss of vision or blurry vision
Uveitis can be diagnosed during a physical examination using a slit lamp. Uveitis can cause permanent damage to the eye, so the disorder should be treated as early as possible.
Treatment typically includes corticosteroids, usually in the form of eye drops. Drugs to dilate the pupils, other drug therapies, and even surgery may be needed.
Endophthalmitis is an eye infection caused by organisms that have entered the eye through a surgical incision or an injury to the eyeball. In some cases, the infection has traveled through the bloodstream to the eye, though this method of infection is less common.
The infection is typically due to bacteria, although fungi or protozoa may also be the cause. Symptoms of endophthalmitis include:
- severe eye pain
- redness in the white of the eye
- sensitivity to bright light
- decreased vision
- eyelid swelling
People should seek medical treatment immediately. With endophthalmitis, even immediate treatment is sometimes not enough to stop vision loss. Unfortunately, in some cases, even a delay of just a few hours can lead to irreversible vision loss.
Treatment methods can include antibiotics, corticosteroids, and surgery. During surgery, doctors can remove the infected tissue from the inside of the eye, which may help to stop the infection.